Art review: Soo Kim at Angles Gallery


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At Angles Gallery, Soo Kim literally carves a line between two and three dimensions, partially cutting out sections of her photographs and layering or folding them to create lacy, semi-sculptural wall pieces. In one series, she has carefully excised wintry tree branches, bending and twisting the strips of paper into tangles that droop from the surface of the photograph. Coated in gold and silver metallic paint, they become shiny, decidedly unnatural appendages. There’s something wistful about the way these works play with absence and presence — in a way, the tree has become both a lacuna and a new object — but unfortunately, these hybrid constructions never achieve more than a poetic prettiness.

By contrast, photographs Kim shot of Dubrovnik, a dense, medieval-era town in Croatia, yield more intriguing results. Instead of slicing the images along the boundary between figure and ground, the artist has removed the substance of the buildings — bricks, tiles, entire walls — leaving basic outlines that resemble a construction site. She then layers one filigreed image atop another, creating an even more complex network in which the cutouts reveal parts of the image below as well as their own faint shadows.


Although nonsensical from an architectural point of view — it’s nearly impossible to discern the outline of one building from the next — the images suggest an underlying visual logic to the city. And oddly, with its close-packed, tiled roofs, it somewhat resembles the repetitive Spanish colonial masses that make up many a Southern California suburb. In this sense, Kim’s seemingly arbitrary layering of different views and moments evokes the subjective ways in which we experience time and place, but also the geometric order that quietly underlies built environments everywhere.

-- Sharon Mizota

Angles Gallery, 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A., (310) 396-5019, through Feb. 12. Closed Sundays and Mondays.